Highbury Memories- Part One

RocktheCasbah

Established Member
Elite
Arsenal v Leeds United- January 1993

When my mum’s cousin, Alison, met a guy named a young police officer named Steve, little did I realise I would soon be enlisted in Steve’s efforts to get in with the family. I was fifteen at the time and drifting through school towards predicted disaster at the GCSE front. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do the work required, it was a more a case of, well, how can I put this? I just didn’t want to. Yes, that’s it, and nor did I particularly want to shave, and so it came to be that on a cold January evening I was sat on a Picadilly Line tube train speeding towards Arsenal with Steve lecturing me about putting more effort into my studies. And shaving the *** fluff off my face. Which, on reflection, he was definitely right about.

I was more concerned, as I half listened to Steve’s seemingly half hearted but genuine efforts to talk some sense into me, with the fact that when I had phoned the box office prior to Steve’s arrival at the house, they weren’t sure there would be any tickets left in the last hour and a half leading up to kick off. Steve assured me that we would be in time, and anyway, if we weren’t there were always the touts. The touts? I thought he was joking; after all, he was a P.O.L.I.C.E.M.A.N. No, I knew that if we arrived too late, so be it, we would be going home empty handed having wasted a couple of hours on the Picadilly Line. This did not help my pre match mood, which made it even more difficult for Steve to talk to me as we headed towards Arsenal tube.

As we emerged from the windy passage at Arsenal, it didn’t take long to ascertain our (my) worst fears had been realised, the game had indeed sold out. I hadn’t really believed Steve, when he said the touts were an option. He was about to prove me wrong. We wandered along past the main entrance to the North Bank, which of course was a building site fronted by a mural at the time, weaving through ticketholders, programme sellers, the stalls that populate Gillespie Road on a matchday, in search of our prey. I was terrified; the initmidating masculinity of the touts scared me, the idea of buying tickets from touts constricted my bladder so much I was in dire need of a toilet.

We turned right up Avenell Road toward the Marble Halls and suddenly I realised Steve was deep in conversation with someone. I didn’t really want to know, especially as Steve’s friends were all around us- yes the boys in blue- nonetheless Steve turned to me, sliding his wallet into his pocket and proffering two tickets for the Clock End. To this day I remember that he had got an adult and a junior ticket, face value eight and four quid respectively. A total price of twenty-five seemed a small price to pay, especially as the money wasn’t coming from my pocket. We didn’t hang around outside for long, which was good, if looking for a tout was bad, being in possession of a possibly counterfeit ticket was worse and by now I was close to boiling point. Steve’s next words didn’t really help, “If these are fake, I’m gonna nick him.” I wondered, possibly aloud, how Steve would find this guy, let alone nick him. Looking back now, I wonder what Steve had done with his warrant card, and also marvel at the fact that he was prepared to take such a risk just to go to the Arsenal- after all he’s a Portsmouth fan.
Anyway, admission was negotiated without too much trouble, which is more than I can say for the Clock End urinal, the masculinity of the place was overpowering from my perspective- it was my first time in the Clock End. And I guess I was still rattled by our manner of admission- kid’s stuff, I know. Anyway, we found a spot approximately ten, maybe twelve rows of steps directly behind the Clock End goal, and waited for the arrival of the teams.
We were minus Ian WrightWrightWright, who was serving one of his numerous suspensions that season- this one, I think, was for “punching” David Howells. Though if what he did could be deemed a punch, you’d have to think the FA Disciplinary committee must have been a proper set of wimps.
Plugged into Capital Gold via my sister’s walkman, the first half was a disaster, Leeds were the current champions of England and Lee Chapman and someone else scored a couple of what seemed like horrible, really scrappy goals in front of us to put them 2-0 up at the break. We were in trouble. General Graham did his stuff at half time (we were later to find out) and Arsenal came out fighting in the second half.
Barely ten minutes into that second half, Ray Parlour managed to get into the Leeds penalty area and swept the ball past John Lukic in the Leeds goal, we were back in it. Cue the resounding chant, “OOH AHH RAY PARLOUR!” Well, as resounding as it could be with one end of the ground a building site.

From then on, I knew it was going to be alright; we increased the pressure on the Leeds goal, but were not managing to find the crucial goal. Steve commented halfway through that second half that we might as well not have bothered. I replied that we were going to do it, not out of hope, I just knew, somehow it would turn out okay. Finally, with ten minutes left, and twenty five yards out, Paul Merson cut in from the left, past one of the Chris’s playing for Leeds at the time, Fairclough or Whyte, I can’t remember, and unleashed a thunderbolt that screamed past the dive of Lukic, if he did dive- he might not have bothered, again I can’t remember- and slammed into the top corner of the Clock End goal. Right in front of us. Everyone around me went mad, and so did I. About five minutes later, the guy in front of me turned around and asked me “Is this yours?” I looked at him and what he was holding, my sister’s walkman. I hadn’t even noticed that I wasn’t listening to Jonathan Pearce anymore. I smiled and thanked him, returning the (intact) black Sony brick to my pocket.

We left, I think just as the game was hitting injury time, Steve reasoning that it was unlikely that another goal would come. Besides which, he had work to get to and the last one in bought the donuts. As I would find out in later years, the Clock End is probably the worst area of the ground to exit and is also furthest from the tube, I couldn’t argue really. It was only due to Steve’s generosity that we were there in the first place. So we headed off and got on the tube, only to encounter a Leeds fan- possibly the nicest one I’ve ever run into- who greeted me with a smile and the words, “We’ll get you next time, son.”
Well, in the replay, the returning Ian Wright would prove him wrong with two goals in an enthralling game, which we eventually carried 3-2. Of course we then went onto avenge 91 at Wembley in the second of three Tottenham semi finals, before Andy Linighan wrote himself an unlikely page in Highbury history with the latest Cup Final goal of all time.
Oh, and despite a heroic drive from Isleworth to Merton, Steve did, unfortunately for him, end up buying the donuts…
 

Tegh

Established Member
Paypal me the money, and I'll get him one tonight.
It was indeed quality, as usual.
 

Andrew Cole Linighan

Active Member
Arsenal Vs Tottenham Hotspur.
0-0. (1995/96).

This North London Derby was going to be a weekend fixture. Had a letter come through the Post the week before, saying the game was to be played on the Monday Evening. I was taking a workmate with me, we managed to get time off work. I started driving towards London, taking the A40 past Oxford then the M40. I parked at Ruislip Gardens Tube Station. We started our journey on the London Underground, travelling on the Central Line then changing at Holborn to go on the Picadilly Line North to Arsenal Tube Station. The train was quite quiet at first, then began to get busier as we travelled towards Central London. We got off at Arsenal Tube Station, we made our way through the long walkway at the Station towards the Exit. Once outside, we had a look at the Street Stalls that sold Arsenal Memorabilia, old programmes etc. We had a Hot Dog and a Burger from a Fast Food Stall. Afterwards, we made our way towards Highbury. As we approached Highbury, there were cries of 'Programme'. I bought a programme then we made our way towards the Clock End Stand.
It was getting busier, there were Ticket Touts about. We got to the turnstiles then made our way into the Ground.
We were seated in the middle of the Stand. It got busier. The Sp**s fans were seated to the left of us in the corner of the Clock End. Both sets of Supporters exchanged plesantries. The game started, Gerry Francis was the Sp**s Manager up against Bruce Rioch of Arsenal. Sp**s had the likes of Teddy Sheringham and Andy Sinton playing. Teddy Sheringham got injured then went off to receive treatment. He came back onto the pitch with his head bandaged up. He was greeted with Indian noises from the Arsenal Fans as he came back on. Chances were few and far between, both sides were cancelling each other out. The game finished 0-0. The Arsenal fans at the end of the game were instructed to leave before the Sp**s fans. As we started to slowly make our way up the steps towards the Exit, we looked to our right and we could see the Tottenham fans ripping up the seats and throwing them up in the air. Exiting Highbury, we made our way towards Arsenal Underground Station. Outside the Station entrance was two queues if Supporters waiting to use the Underground. Police on Horseback were instructed supporters on were to wait to board the Train.
A good night watching the North London Derby.PXL_20210524_174932530.jpg
 

Andrew Cole Linighan

Active Member
This is my account of watching my First ever Arsenal Match Live:-

Saturday 20th August 1994.
FA Carling Premiership.
🟥⬜Arsenal Vs Manchester City.🟦⬜
3 - 0

I purchased a Ticket for this Match a few weeks before hand. This was when you sent a cheque via Post. The Ticket arrived a week later, it showed Fixture, Date and where I would be sitting. I choose to sit in the Clock End Stand, Ticket price:- £10,00 (Adult). What can you get for that price now? This Ticket made it all real, gave me realisation that I was going to watch Arsenal Live for the first time!!!
I had joined up with the Gloucester Arsenal Supporters Club. I would be going to the game on the Supporters Coach. 🚌🟥⬜
The day before the match felt like Christmas Eve. That night, it felt like I was waiting for Christmas Morning.
The Morning of the Match seemed like the start of something Special. My Parents drove me the 10 mile journey into Gloucester. The Coach was picking me up early Saturday morning. As we arrived at the Pickup Point, I noticed two other people waiting wearing Arsenal colours. 🟥⬜. 🟨🟦 This was all becoming very real. I got out of the car, said hello to the two supporters, and waited for the coach. The coach arrived, there were a few people on board. On we went towards the A40 passing Oxford, then onto the M40 to London. It was exciting being on the coach with fellow Arsenal Supporters. Spoke to some people next to me as we made our way towards London.
We arrived in London, we made our way towards North London heading towards Highbury Hill. The coach parked up, there were other coaches which had come from Devon, Yorkshire etc.
Getting off we started to make our way towards Highbury Stadium.
As I started to walk, I noticed a few people milling about wearing Arsenal shirts, scarves etc. This was about an hour and a half before kick off.
There were street stalls selling Arsenal Merchandise, old Home/Away programmes etc. I was looking around these stalls, it was like a kid being in a sweet shop. Went past the burger vans going towards Arsenal Tube Station, I heard cries of "Get your Gooner". I purchased The Gooner Fanzine, I was getting sucked into the Arsenal pre-match atmosphere. Tuning right into Avenell Road, I heard other shouts of "Programme and Handbook". I went towards this person and bought a programme. With my programme and fanzine, I felt happy as anything.

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It was getting busier. It was then that I could see on the right hand side, the Art Deco East Stand of Highbury Stadium. I was in Dreamland, it did not seem real that I was there. Approaching Highbury, I heard a bloke shout "Peanuts" outside the Stadium. The Arsenal Club Store was next to the Clock End Turnstiles. Had a good look round the Store, didn't buy anything.
Then I went to the Clock End Turnstiles. It was getting a bit more busier, noticed a couple of people toauting for tickets. Went through the turnstiles, I was inside Highbury. 🏟️🟥⬜ I got some food from a Stadium refreshment kiosk, looked at my ticket to see which stairway I had to use to get to my seat. I went up the stairs, it was then that I had my first view of the pitch, and the East/West Stands to the right and left, along with the North Bank at the opposite end. Wow!!! This was about an hour before Kick off. Music was being played on the speakers along with the odd pre-match message. Highbury was a view of a scattering of early arrived supporters, sat in the mostly red yet to be taken up seats. I found my seat and took in Highbury in all its glory. I noticed the people that organised the coach, sat around the same area as me.
Highbury was slowly filling up, I had a brief look at the programme and fanzine. Was more engrossed with the pre-match atmosphere as the Arsenal and Manchester City players came out to warm up.
It was nearing kick off and the Stadium was full. The game kicked off and I think Ian Wright scored the first goal. 🥅⚽ I was sat about half way up in the Clock End, Ian Wright scored this end, and was celebrating close to where I was. Lee Dixon joined in with the celebrations. I think Alan Smith 🥅⚽, and Kevin Campbell 🥅⚽ were the other goalscorers.
A workmate of mine at the time is a Manchester City Supporter. 🟦⬜ He originally came from Stockport, but moved down to the South West. I went with him to Maine Road twice during the 1993/94 season. First match was against Swindon Town, then the second match was the last game of the season against Chelsea. We went in the Kippax terraced stand. After the Chelsea match, the Kippax was to be demolished to become a massive Kippax seated stand. I had sat in that stand with my workmate watching some matches during the 1995/96 season. We watched MCFC Vs Newcastle United ⬛⬜, the Kevin Keegan Team. We were sat towards the top, we were up in the Gods. You had fantastic views of Manchester. We were watching David Ginola at his best. 🇨🇵
Sorry, gone off Topic!!! Back to Arsenal. Arsenal won 3 - 0. A good start to the season, clean sheet.
The 1994/95 season was not to end well. George Graham leaving, flirting briefly with relegation, and the Real Zaragoza Cup Winners Cup Final defeat. Niayim from the halfway line and all that.
Still, a good game to watch for my first Arsenal live match.

PXL_20210718_211554686.MP.jpg

The day after, I went to see my workmate. He was a bit annoyed. We thought MCFC might be in for a good season, having ex Gooner Niall Quinn, Paul Walsh, Uwe Rosler and Peter Beagrie up front. In defence was Terry Phelan and Keith Curle.
My workmate had a MCFC Home shirt with ROSLER 28 on the back.
The following 1995/96 season, MCFC got Relegated. They had the midfield talent of Georgie Kinkladze.
Sorry, gone off Topic again!!!
Thank you Arsenal 🟥⬜, and Highbury 🏟️, for my first Live Match.
 

Andrew Cole Linighan

Active Member
European Cup. (1991/92).
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Arsenal 1 - 3 Benfica 🇵🇹 (AET).
2nd Round, 2nd Leg.

I began supporting Arsenal early 1991. This Highbury Memory was my first European Competition Heartbreak following Arsenal. I was not at the Match, I watched it on ITV. (Seeing that I was at School, and I lived in Worcestershire).
I recently got the Official Matchday Programme for this Match from a Football Programme Selling Website).

PXL_20210726_204317616.jpg

This Match was the Second Round, Second Leg of the European Cup. In the First Round, we defeated Austria Vienna in spectacular fashion. Watching these two matches at Highbury on the TV, I noticed these things. Highbury on a European night looked superb, the sight of the long row of floodlights on top of the East and West Stands illuminating the Stadium looked fantastic. Arsenal were wearing the 'Bruised Banana kit, I thought this looked striking on these European nights. 🟨🍌 It was brilliant playing a foreign opposition, it seemed quite mystical, rather than playing the usual Oldham Athletic, Wimbledon, Norwich City, (no disrespect).


PXL_20210726_204925399.jpg
(Captain Tony Adams Programme Notes. Ready to face Benfica in the Bruised Banana Kit. 🟨🍌).

I liked it how somebody unique scored the first Arsenal goal. Against Austria Vienna, my Avatar picture, Andrew Linighan scores. ⚽🥅 Then against Benfica, another person who may have been long odds to score, Colin Pates scores.
Playing Benfica, Arsenal were one round away from the lucrative Group Stage where you could earn Big Money. We had done well in the First Leg, getting a 1-1 Draw. Kevin Campbell scoring an away goal for us at the Stadium of Light. In the Second Leg, we started off well. Colin Pates scored for us, we were on target to reach the European Cup Group Stage. I was getting towards Dreamland. If we reached this stage, Arsenal were then rumoured to be in the hunt for Big European Talent.

PXL_20210726_205359072.jpg
(The Opposition Benfica, who were to give Arsenal a lesson in European football).

But Benfica were to tear up the script. Benfica were a quality side. One of the potential Arsenal targets if we had reached the Group Stage was Sergei Yuran. He played for Benfica against Arsenal, he pretty much tore us apart. A future Arsenal player, Stefan Schwartz, was also in this Benfica Team. I believe we were also rumoured to be interested in Benfica's Jonas Thern.
Arsenal got knocked out in Extra Time. Arsenal had missed out on the lucrative Group Stage. I was pretty gutted at this defeat, the thought of missing out on the money spinning Group Stage, and missing out on signing the mentioned potential targets was disappointing.
Saying that, Arsenal made a good start in the European Cup. Just wished this European Adventure could have lasted a little longer.

PXL_20210726_204713826.MP.jpg
(Programme center page picture of my Avatar Andrew Linighan).

PS. Something that I did not realise until I got this programme. The Manager of Benfica was future England Manager Sven Goran Eriksson. 🇸🇪🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
 

Andrew Cole Linighan

Active Member
I believe that's Stefan Schwarz on the City cover? Impressive calves.
Yes that is Stefan Schwartz. Arsenal won the Makita Tournament. Stefan Schwartz won Player of the Tournament. He was a quality player with a deadly free kick.
How long was he with us for? Don't think he won any Major Trophies with us. 🇸🇪
 

Alexs

Well-Known Member
Decent player but came at the wrong time, his real moment of note was a free kick against Sampdoria in the Cup Winners semi away - Just one season and had the FA cup defeat to Millwall, the Graham bung and Nayim from the half-way line to contend with. Oh, and Merson spent 3 months in rehab. We finished 12th that season. I guess his exit paved the way for Bergkamp.
 
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Andrew Cole Linighan

Active Member
That would have been fantastic to have been able to retain the European Cup Winners Cup. Especially after the season we had. Nike's Debut Arsenal kit supplier season. George Graham leaving, briefly flirting with relegation. Paul Mersons problems. The signings of Chris Kiyomia and Glenn Helder. The Sp**s chanting of 'Nayim from the Halfway line'. (Come back when you Win a European Trophy).
A high point of that season was the signing of John Hartson from Luton Town. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 Believe he cost £2,500,000? At the time Britain's most expensive teenager. Felt that he had more to offer at Arsenal. Believe he scored against Real Zaragoza in the European Cup Winners Cup Final?
 

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